The last year has brought us more reasons to cry than ever. So it's time to refresh our list of the best places to cry in public in Montreal to suit pandemic restrictions and accommodate all the delightful new stresses that come along with them.
COVID-19, unfortunately, means exhibitionary crying is out for now: no heading to crowded places to let the world know how you're feeling or sitting among happy tourists in Old Montreal for some public but still anonymous sobs.
This year, we're looking for different public cry experiences: to make a connection with a fellow downer (from a safe distance), to engage in awkward public displays for an ultimate escape from the solitary confines of our homes, and, conversely, to delve deep into our intense loneliness in complete privacy.
Cryers also needs to consider the safety of others.
There seems to be little research as to whether the novel coronavirus can spread through tears. The World Health Organization doesn't have an answer on its website and back in March the American Academy of Ophthalmology said there's a "low risk."
But better safe than sorry — plus, if your crying involves some heavy wheezing or a runny nose, you need to be aware of your respiratory droplets.
This means no intentional crying in indoor public places where you might wipe your eyes and touch surfaces.
So here are the places you're left with for a healthy cry.
Pros: A go-to for any public cryer. The expansive park has plenty of little groves where you can hide from the world. It also has some great trails for a walk-and-sob.
This is a place to be alone while still out and about.
Cons: Unless you live nearby, it's a little out of the way, which means you'll have to plan your cry and hold it in until you get there.
This is not a place to escape for a spontaneous flood of emotions.
McGill's Downtown Campus
Pros: The best Montreal campus for a cry. Unlike Concordia and UQÀM's downtown campuses, for example, McGill has plenty of spots to repose and reflect: benches, picnic tables, grassy fields, etc.
Pro tip: go during finals, where you'll fit in among other stressed students and maybe even make a new, empathetic friend from a distance.
If you're looking for solidarity, this is the place to go.
It's also probably the best place in Ville-Marie to find a quiet corner.
Cons: There are fewer students on campus this year, so fewer opportunities to meet a friendly sad face.
Promenade du Vieux-Port
Pros: The Old Port is a great place to go if you need a moment to reflect upon everything we've lost in 2020. With no international tourists, it can sometimes feel a little abandoned.
The promenade, the path that runs along the water past the wharves, is a good place for a slow walk with a view of the city.
Cons: It may be less busy than usual, but there will still be people around. They might see you. But maybe that's what you want!
Bridges Between Île Notre-Dame & Île Sainte-Hélène
Pros: The bridges between the islands of Parc Jean-Drapeau offer distinct crying experiences, but each has a nice, calming view of the river below.
On one hand, you've got the Passerelle du Cosmos, the bridge closet to the metro with high pedestrian traffic on the weekend.
This is the place to go for a public cry. And the metro allows for an easy escape when you're done.
Then there's the Pont des Îles, which has less foot traffic. It's a great spot to stand and watch as your tears fall in the rushing water.
Cons: Both are out of the way. You need to be sure you want to devote considerable time to your cry.
Belvédère du Barrage, Parc-nature de l'Île-de-la-Visitation
Pros: At the very tip of the Parc-nature de l'Île-de-la-Visitation is this covered little platform overlooking a damn. It's a peaceful spot that'll keep you dry if you're someone that loves to cry in the rain.
Cons: It's another popular perch. But if it's raining, there will probably be fewer people around.
Parc des Rapides
Pros: Another riverside public space, Parc des Rapides in LaSalle has plenty of little nooks and crannies where you can curl up and watch the water tumble over the Lachine rapids.
Cons: The entrance to the park is a long, narrow isthmus. You'll have to pass dozens of people before you can finally let the tears stream down your face.
Parc du Mont-Royal
Pros: We've saved the most obvious choice for last. At the centre of the city, Mount Royal is an easy escape from all the surrounding neighbourhoods if you just need to get away and be with your feelings.
There are plenty of less-populated paths to park yourself.
Cons: There's definitely no getting away from other people here. And even though there are lesser-used paths, they're not that long, so you can't really move around freely in this park while crying.
Of all the locations on this list, this is probably where you have the highest chance of running into someone you know — which could be great if you love the drama but not so great if that's the last thing you want to worry about.